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One move to America, one surprise pregnancy and a lot of fun later.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Go tell it on the mountain by James Baldwin

Go Tell It on the Mountain Publisher: Dell

"Mountain," Baldwin said, "is the book I had to write if I was ever going to write anything else." Go Tell It On The Mountain, first published in 1953, is Baldwin's first major work, a novel that has established itself as an American classic. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy's discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935. Baldwin's rendering of his protagonist's spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves

Ok clearly I was missing something.  I gave up on page 101 because I just could not be bothered reading on.  It is not like me to give up on such a short novel but this was grating on my every nerve.

I hated the Southern American Negro vernacular that was used  from the start.  The grammatical errors of this speech just annoyed me.  Ok,ok, I know that is probably how the characters talked in real life back then but I struggled to follow it.  I also thought the writing style (other than the type of speech used) was rather self righteous and long winded.  Even 101 pages in, the author had not really made a point, or at least not one that I noticed.

If this is the "most important novel written about the American Negro" then I really need someone to sit down and explain why.  Surely, To Kill a Mockingbird would be more important or Gone with the wind, or many other such novels.  Luckily, this is a book group choice and I will, partially, get the chance to find out why when we sit down and discuss it.

Sorry to all the diehard fans out there (and Wendy who chose the book) but I just did not get it.

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